Review by James Lindorf
IFC is known for bringing quality indie films to a broad audience, and it is set to do that again for Don’t Go, the latest film from director David Gleeson. Don’t Go was co-written by Gleeson and Academy Award Nominee, Ronan Blaney, with music by composer Ferry Corsten and cinematography by James Mather (Lockout). After the death of their daughter, Molly, Ben (Stephen Dorff) and Hazel (Melissa George) are attempting to restart their lives in an oceanside village in Northern Ireland. Things seem to be going well for them. Ben has a new job as a teacher, and Hazel is going to reopen a boutique hotel, but when Ben begins having a recurring dream about Molly, he becomes convinced that not only is she trying to communicate from the other side, but offering clues on how he can save her. The more he dreams, the more determined Ben is that he can save her. As Ben becomes more convinced, Hazel is certain that Ben is losing his grip on reality. This atmospheric supernatural thriller will be released into select theaters on October 26th, before rolling out to audiences across the country.
From the opening credits, you can tell Don’t Go will not be your typical supernatural thriller. Instead of starting off with a scare or the tragic moment, we are shown an intricate credit sequence that contains clues to the story that it is about to unfold, in the vain of a James Bond film, just with an eerie score and not a big ballad. After the credits we jump right in, Molly is already gone, people are arriving for the wake, and it’s time for Ben and Hazel to decide what to do with their lives, going forward.
Don’t Go is all about its atmosphere, as we slowly watch how grief and guilt can cause people to unravel. Most people probably remember Stephen Dorff from something like Blade or just think of him as that guy that kind of looks like Kiefer Sutherland, but Dorff has quietly amassed a significant amount of credits on IMDB. Melissa George was very good as Hazel, as was Aoibhinn McGinnity as her guilt-stricken friend, Serena, and Simon Delaney as the lovable father, Sean, but Dorff is the leader of the pack because he was great as Ben. His arch from devastated father that can barely get out of bed, to the cool new teacher who is finally patching things back together with Hazel, to the sleep-deprived obsessive that would sacrifice anything to save Molly, Dorff excels at every point of the film.
This isn’t the film for anyone expecting a Ring-style ghost girl or the moody jump scares of Stir of Echoes. Molly isn’t vengeful and the only mystery to solve is how to bring her back, not how she died. Don’t Go’s entire focus is Ben, Hazel, and the five stages of grief, as well as asking how far you would go and what you would give up to save your child.